With South Coast Conference MVP and setter Emily Leung distributing the ball, the 15th-seeded Pasadena City College women's volleyball team maximized its offensive attack Saturday night in sweeping #18 Ventura, 25-13, 25-19, 28-26, in a SoCal Regional Playoff Play-In Round match. The win was accomplished in front of a loud, excited partisan crowd at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.
The SCC North Division champion Lancers (18-9 overall) are on a roll, having won 13 of their last 14, and extending their current run to a season-best, 7-match win streak. PCC avenged an earlier 3-set loss to Ventura, which closed its season at 12-13.
PCC now has its hands full as it travels to face No. 2 seed MiraCosta (24-6) on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. in a SoCal First Round match. The Mustangs, the PCAC North Division champion, swept the Lancers on the opening weekend of the season at the Pierce Kickoff Classic. In 2013, PCC, then a 12th seed upset No. 5 San Diego Mesa in a road playoff victory.
Against Ventura, the Lancers maintained control through its strong serving and passing that resulted in an outstanding .435 hitting attack in the opening set, led by four kills from middle blocker Rachel Johnson. In the second set, PCC cooled off a bit (.235) but Ventura errors helped the Lancers open up a commanding 2-0 sets lead.
In third set, the Pirates jumped ahead 10-2, and then 13-5. At that point, the Lancers put together a sideout in which Johnson and Paige Clingaman each pounded a pair of kills. A combined block by Lania Potter and Kendall Schmedes gave PCC their first lead of the set at 17-16. The teams traded points as Ventura faced match point three times and kept things interesting. At 27-26, the Lancers capped the sweep on Vanessa Lopez's ace.
"We talked about making three good contacts on each play, and we did that very well for the first two sets," said PCC head coach Mike Terrill, recently named the SCC North Coach of the Year in just his second season directing the program. "In the third, we got away from our game. But the players really bought into our scouting report going into this match, and our hitters found their rhythm again. We had some really good digs. and our tough serving forced them into mistakes. Getting the sweep was important because that means more rest for us to prepare for MiraCosta. We couldn't afford to get into a long match."
Leung dished out 35 assists, or almost 12 a set, with Clingaman leading the way on 10 kills (.273). Lopez totaled nine kills and 10 digs. Johnson was a force in the middle with eight kills (.294) and Schmedes used some two-hand shots and a variety of cross-court hits to make seven kills (.278). Libero Kelsey Sarreal totaled 15 digs and Grace Crawford added six digs.
Bryanna Lovingood led Ventura with eight kills and three blocks.